Martin Kaymer is $1.8 million richer after a gritty finish saw him take the 2014 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday at 13 under.
Kaymer held on for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk. Furyk will undoubtedly lament another close loss, but pocketing just over $1 million for second will help him get over it.
The payouts at this tournament are elite.
One of the main factors for this prestigious tournament being known as the unofficial fifth major is the massive purse. It offered this year's field $10 million in payouts.
As Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com points out, that purse is matched on the PGA calendar only by the PGA Championship.
Have a look at the final leaderboard and payouts, and then I'll take a closer look at Sunday's exciting action:
|T26||Bo Van Pelt||-4||284||$69,500|
|70||Brendon de Jonge||+6||294||$20,000|
Kaymer began the final round tied for the lead with Jordan Spieth. With Spieth struggling on Sunday while Kaymer was making it look easy, the former world No. 1 opened up a comfortable lead.
Spieth wound up shooting a 74 on Sunday and finished tied for fourth, which won him $440,000.
Then rain halted Kaymer's momentum. The German was through 13 holes when play was suspended, and he owned a three-stroke lead on Furyk. After play was suspended for over an hour, Kaymer returned to the course a different, shakier player.
With Furyk in the clubhouse, Kaymer stepped up to the iconic 17th tee and missed the island green and barely found a dry resting spot on a thin patch of rough. He looked like he was still going to lose his lead after a difficult chip left him nearly 30 feet from the hole.
He was left with a bending putt, and he drilled it.
ESPN's Skip Bayless highlighted what an impressive and important putt this was:
Martin Kaymer just made as great a collapse-halting, tournament-saving, big-breaking guts putt as I've seen (on 17!) and won the Players.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 12, 2014
Kaymer then played a solid 18th and carded a par, the victory and his massive payday.
Sergio Garcia continued his great play at this tournament and finished third to pocket $680,000. Perhaps that tidy payday improved his mood after coming close and falling short. The Spaniard tweeted this following his round:
I gave it my best effort but just short! The bogeys on 11th and 14th killed me! Very happy for my friend Martin! What a putt on 17!!!— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) May 12, 2014
Kaymer's win was a popular one. He is a likable golfer with supreme talent, but he's been scuffling.
Kaymer hasn't had much success over the past few years. This was his first win since the 2011 HSBC Champions in Shanghai and his only top-10 finish thus far in 2014. Kaymer has his easy, fluid swing in a groove once again, however, and I expect him to appear on a few more leaderboards this season.
On top of his excellent ball striking, Kaymer showed the kind of mental toughness it takes to be a consistent factor.